I have been working as a researcher in the School of Health Sciences (HSC) since 2010. My role was originally to support the then Head of School in developing health services research within the School. While I was initially employed on a four year fixed term contract to focus on one particular externally funded project, the School fully supported me in developing my own profile as a researcher, funding training and national and overseas trips to build collaborations with other institutions. This support was instrumental in allowing me to bid for research funding as Principal Investigator and I was successful in obtaining funding to conduct a qualitative study of telephone triage communication. Whilst the amount of funding was modest – only £25,000 – extra support from the School enabled me to produce three first author publications, deliver presentations of findings in York, London, Manchester, New York, Istanbul, Slovenia and Hong Kong and obtain funding to develop two online courses on telephone communication. In 2015 I was awarded a Faculty prize for excellence in enterprise from research.
As a result of this work I was successful in obtaining a permanent contract in HSC and in 2016 I was promoted from Senior Research Associate to Research Fellow. This support from HSC has meant that I have been able to build on these outputs to develop a national and international profile as a specialist in process evaluation methodology as follows:
- Leading development of a research programme in process evaluation methods, as Process Evaluation Lead for the Norwich Clinical Trials Unit.
- Process Evaluation Lead on two international studies (funded by Joint MRC/Wellcome/DfID Health Systems Research Initiative and NIHR Global Health Research Unit) in South Africa.
- Process Evaluation Lead on 25 research grant applications since 2016, seven of which were funded, totalling over £4 million in research income.
- Ongoing programme of work with the Knowledge Translation Unit, Cape Town University, leading process evaluation design and delivery on ongoing and planned research.
- Ten publications as first author, 12 as co-author. Submitted in REF2014 and will have at least eight publications available for REF2021, including publication in The Lancet.
- Funding to develop MRC guidelines on case study methods to evaluate complex healthcare interventions.
- NIHR Research Design Service Adviser, providing advice to academics and a range of healthcare professionals developing NIHR funding applications.
Although my RA contract does not require me to teach, HSC have encouraged my desire to teach students across the School. I currently deliver numerous lectures and seminars on research methods at both UG and PGR level within HSC. This has been important for me to ensure that I have felt fully embedded within the academic community at UEA and to be able to share my knowledge of research methods, as well as presenting opportunities to share research findings.
In August 2019 and as a result of this success I was promoted from Research Fellow to Senior Research Fellow.
Throughout this period, I have worked at 0.4fte for HSC and 0.5fte for MED. Both Schools have fully supported me to work flexibly to enable me to look after my two school age children.